LAX to Getty public transport (bus)

Old Feb 13th, 2010, 03:14 PM
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LAX to Getty public transport (bus)

Hello. I hope someone familiar with public transport in LA can offer me advice about bus connections in L.A. My knowledge of L.A. is very limited.
To keep my frequent flyer miles from expiring, I am making a very quick, same-day roundtrip from SFO to LAX and back. I land in LAX at about 11:30 a.m. and depart LAX/return to SFO at 7 p.m. that same day. This means I will have about 6 hours to see one tourist spot in LA. My interests are art and architecture, so I am trying to decide between a quick trip to the Getty Center OR to Walt Disney Concert Hall, where I can do a self-guided audio tour in about 45 minutes. If I finish up early at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, I am thinking of walking down to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which, looking at my map, seems to be about a block and a half away.
I have consulted the MTA website as well as the LAX website and it seems I must take two buses to get to the Getty. It suggested that I catch a LAX shuttle bus to the LAX transit center where I can pick up a Culver City 6 bus to the transit point for the Metro Rapid 761, which will stop in front of the Getty Center In Westside. The site also proposed the alternative of catching the Flyaway Westside bus (which I guess I catch right in front of the terminal) to Wilshire Blvd. and Gayley. Nearby, at Westbrook and Lindbrook, I can pick up the Metro Rapid 761 to the Getty Center.
I am wondering if I can follow these directions without getting on the wrong bus, or the right bus in the wrong directions. Are bus stops clearly marked? I am also wondering if bus connections are generally on-time and reliable in L.A. (not here in S.F.) And does the Metro Rapid 761 run above ground or below?
If I decide to go to Walt Disney Concert Hall and MOCA instead, I need only take one bus direct from the LAX transit center (Metro Local Line 42) all the way to Broadway and 1st, which seems to be about a block away from Disney Concert Hall. Alternatively, I can take the Flyway bus to Union Station from where I can then pick up the Metro Red Line to Civic Center, which seems to be very close to Disney Concert Hall.
Again, this seems easy, but then again, what looks easy on paper might not be as easy in real life. So I would appreciate it if anyone who has actually experienced these routings could offer me their advice/suggestions.
Thanks so much. I wish I had more time in L.A. Too much to see and so little time.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2010, 07:58 PM
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Well, my knowledge of the LA transit system is quite limited, but I do get to downtown LA on occasion, and have taken the subway a few times.

First, as you're probably aware, there's nothing like the Disney hall outside of Spain. A self guided tour will take you all around the innards and outsides of the structure, but probably not into the auditorium where the symphony plays, since there is usually something going on in there, such as a rehearsal.

Regarding the MOCA, it is indeed very close to Disney Hall, but I recommend you check to see what their current exhibitions are. They vary quite a bit and may not be of interest to you. We were wowed by an exhibit of very eccentric abstract art about 3 years ago, but more recently were left cold by a photographic exhibition.

Just a couple of blocks away is the Los Angeles Catholic Cathedral, which is of great architectural interest because it's very modern and looks nothing like any cathedral you can imagine. And of course you can just walk in and gawk, but if you decide to do that, do some googling to learn about the tapestries on the walls of the main sanctuary. Post back if you think you might want to visit the cathedral and I can help you find info about it and the tapestries.

The Metro Rapid 761 I'm sure is a bus. You have probably researched the Getty Center enough to know what it's all about, so I won't burden you with my unsophisticated opinion of Getty's taste in art. But the complex is interesting architecturally, and does provide a good view of Hollywood below.

Another possibility is the LA County Museum of Art, which is billed as the largest art museum in the western United States. It's on the west side of LA and therefore closer to LAX than the other destinations you mentioned. As it happens, a special traveling exhibit of Renoir's late works is starting there today. It's showing only in Paris, Philadelphia, and here. Go figure.

You're doing good at figuring out transit routes. Most Angelenos are not. We prefer sitting essentially motionless on a freeway.
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Old Feb 13th, 2010, 08:58 PM
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Probably none of my business, but do you know there may be other ways to keep frequent flyer miles from expiring? About two or three years ago, I used some of my son's miles to purchase a magazine subscription, in order to keep his frequent flyer miles from expiring. For my other son, I think I made an online purchase at some store that gave frequent flyer miles at the time, maybe LL Bean or Land's End??

Your trip sounds like a lot more fun though!
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Old Feb 14th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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You could also take the FlyAway Bus from any LAX terminal to Union Station in downtown LA and walk to Disney and MOCA. I thnk the bus runs about every 20 minutes.
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Old Feb 14th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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Thank you, DBDurand for the suggestions. The LA County Museum had been my first choice but I ruled it out because it would take three buses to get there from the airport. I think I'll have enough trouble with one or two buses. Also, I figured since the Renoir exhibition has just begun, it might prove too popular to get into at the last minute. There might be a long wait. Also, a lot of the kids are off from school this coming week (ski week), which should add to the crowds. I guess most of the exhibition will be drawn from the Musee D'Orsay's collection, which I have seen. It would be nice to see it again, but I think my time will be tight. Nonetheless, it was an excellent suggestion! It should be a fabulous exhibition.
The MOCA is showing an anniversary collection drawing from their own best works. Sounds promising (though not nearly as grand as the Renoir exhibition). You make the Disney Concert Hall sound appealing indeed. You're right, those on self-guided tours are not allowed to enter the concert hall because of ongoing rehearsals. Maybe someday when I'm lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in LA I can attend a performance there, maybe even hear wunderkind Dudamel--that would be a thrill. This time I'll be content with a tour of the hall. I've seen many photos of it, but I think architecture is best appreciated up close to get a sense of scale, and in the case of this concert hall's titanium shell, its texture and sheen.
I'll try to make time for the Cathedral, which I had not thought of visiting.
As of yet, though, I have not decided on which venue I will visit, Disney Concert Hall or the Getty.
My interest in seeing the Getty Center is not so much for its art, but to see the setting, Richard Meyer's buildings, and to see the grounds as well, which I have read are beautifully landscaped.
Thank you, travelgirl2 for your suggestions. Yes, I was aware of the magazine subscription programs for keeping frequent flyer miles. What happened to me is I thought I was accumulating miles on my Safeway supermarket card. Turns out I did not earn enough so I lost all 58,000 miles! So I had to pay a $200 reinstatement fee and then within 90 days make a roundtrip flight anywhere to get my miles back. Ouch!
Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old Feb 14th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Just saw your entry--thank you Boom Boom. The Flyaway bus sounds very convenient. I guess it is a direct bus that makes no stops along the way. For someone with so little time, it makes a a lot of sense to take the Flyaway.
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Old Feb 14th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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The Getty would be a nice afternoon and they have a great garden cafe. The Flywaway bus is great, picks up just outside of baggage claim, just be sure you hop on the right Flyaway (they are clearly marked WESTWOOD etc). Note that the bus might stop at several terminals before leaving the airport so it is not always quick-and-away.
On arrival in Westwood, simply ask for directions to Burger King which is just at the UCLA entrance. I know the 761 picks up at Burger King and the bus stop is marked 761. If you can touch the Burger King window you're on the right side of the street. The bus will announce the Getty entrance which is about 6 or 7 minutes into the ride.
The return trip will be in heavy traffic, but the bus rides in a fast lane. However, you will NOT have six hours to see the Getty! More like 3 hours. You'll need to leave the Getty at 4:00pm to catch the 4:30 FLYAWAY back to LAX. If you like to take risks, you could stay an extra half hour (which would be fine if it's a Saturday since LAX is quite quiet on Saturday afternoons).
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Old Feb 15th, 2010, 12:29 PM
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Thanks so much divineMissM. Great detailed info. on getting to the Getty! I was concerned that I might be waiting at the wrong bus stop--as you know, it can be confusing if you are not familiar with the area (I had even considered bringing a compass ).
It is hard to choose which venue to visit, but I don't think I can go wrong with either Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Getty.
I would be content to spend two hours at the Getty, even an hour and a half. I have wanted to see it since its construction.
Thanks so much again. I really appreciate it. Now I just have to worry about getting up on time so that I don't miss my flight!
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Old Feb 18th, 2010, 01:22 AM
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I just wanted to report back on my experiences during my day trip to LA. As I mentioned above, I only had a few hours to see something in the city by way of public transport. Because of my interests in art and architecture, I had narrowed my choices down to the Getty Museum or a tour of Walt Disney Concert Hall plus a visit to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, which is right across the street from Disney Concert Hall.
In the end, I had decided to go to the Getty, by way of the Westside Flyaway bus and Metro Rapid Transit bus. When I got to the Flyaway bus stop at LAX I spoke with a couple who had been waiting for the Westside Flyaway bus stop for an hour and a half (it's supposed to come every half hour). They said only one Westside Flyaway passed them in all that time, and it was full so it didn't bother to stop. The Westside Flyway bus is half the size of the other Flyaway buses so it can't take as many people. Plus, it was a busy day due to school holidays.
So after waiting a while with them, I decided to just get on the Flyaway Union Station bus instead, to visit Disney Concert Hall and MOCA.
The Flyaway bus is great! Half hour in the fast lane to downtown LA, no stops! Then it was just steps away to the underground rapid metro station. I only had to travel one stop on the Red Line to get to Civic Center station, which was about three blocks from Walt Disney Concert Hall.
At Disney Concert Hall, you can take a self-guided audio tour of the building for free. This is a must for anyone with an interest in contemporary architecture or an interest in the history of downtown LA. I learned the building was clad in stainless steel and that the external curves of the building were shaped like the billowing sails of a sailboat--because architect Frank Gehry is an avid sailor. I learned the fountain in the garden is shaped like a rose and covered with bits of Delft pottery because Lillian Disney, who financed the building of the concert hall, loved roses and Delft pottery. There was much more on the choice of materials, the drafting of the design, the execution of the construction, the use of lighting, and so on. I hope I am not trivializing the audio tour because I truly enjoyed it and found it informative. Of course, I could have learned these facts by looking up some articles about the hall, but it was great to do it interactively while walking the structure. I also loved the feel of walking between the stainless steel walls and of seeing my reflection in the stainless steel panels of the building, which are sensations I cannot experience by way of reading an article about the building.
Afterwards, I had hoped to go to MOCA, which was designed by the celebrated Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. But it was, as it turns out, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So that was a disappointment. I should have checked their website, rather than just assuming that it would be closed on just Mondays or Wednesdays like the SF museums.
As I now had time to spare before my flight back, I thought I would save a little money and see a different route by taking the local bus back to the airport. This was a routing suggested by the MTA website (the Los Angeles Transit Authority website). The bus stop was only two blocks away from Disney Concert Hall. The local bus took about an hour to get to the LAX transit center. It travels through South Central LA, some parts of which might seem a little rough and shabby to some. The bus passengers were local people, and so somewhat different from the tourists who take the Flyaway bus. Those not used to inner city urban life, might not feel so safe on this bus.
Still, in all, I felt comfortable using public transit to see LA and I would do it again. Those with extended layovers at LAX can easily use the public transit system to see local sights.
Thanks again to those of you who offered advice.
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Old Apr 5th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for reporting back, I love when that happens! Sorry you didn't see the Getty but sounds like you had a good afternoon.
Currently I think the Westwood Flyaway comes by only hourly until afternoon and then becomes half-hourly.
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